Second Mag ‘To Publish Topless Kate Photos’
An Italian weekly from the same publishing group as the French magazine that published photos of the Duchess of Cambridge sunbathing topless while on holiday is reportedly going to include them in a special issue next week.
Unconfirmed reports say the Italian magazine said it would devote 26 pages to the series of pictures in an edition coming out on Monday.
A version of the front cover of the gossip publication showed some of the photos with the headline “The Queen is Naked!”
“The fact that these are the future rulers of England makes the article more interesting and topical,” editor Alfonso Signorini told reporters.
“This is a deserving topic because it shows in a completely natural way the daily life of a very famous, young and modern couple in love,” he said.
Both the Italian publication and the French magazine “Closer” belong to the Mondadori Group which is owned by former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi — himself no stranger to scandals involving revealing photos taken by paparazzi.
Contacted by AFP, Mondadori Group declined to comment on the publications.
The wife of Prince William, second in line to the throne, was snapped while the couple were on holiday in the south of France.
A furious Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who are currently on tour in Asia and have arrived in Sabah in Borneo to travel to the region’s rainforests, have launched legal action against Closer for invasion of privacy.
The publication was compared by St James’s Palace to the worst experiences of Diana, Princess of Wales, at the hands of the paparazzi.
The palace led a chorus of protests, describing the invasion of privacy as “grotesque and totally unjustifiable”.
Royal aides drew parallels between Diana’s most upsetting encounters with certain elements of the press and the “unthinkable” actions of the French magazine Closer, which left Kate and William feeling “anger and disbelief”.
The royal couple had spent yesterday in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur completing a busy schedule of events which saw them break new ground by visiting a mosque for the first time.
They later left the mainland and flew to Kota Kinabalu, capital of the state of Sabah on Borneo, and will next travel to the region’s dramatic rainforest to learn about the wildlife – something that is likely to be a welcome relief from the distressing events.
But last night the palace announced that lawyers would be pursuing the matter through the French courts.
It is understood that the royal couple’s aim is to prevent further use of the images and to seek damages.
Laurence Pieau, the editor of Closer, was unrepentant, defending her decision to publish the pictures during an interview with the French radio station Europe 1, insisting there was “nothing degrading” about the photographs and claiming she could not understand the couple’s reaction.
Ms Pieau also told the AFP news agency: “These photos are not in the least shocking. They show a young woman sunbathing topless, like the millions of women you see on beaches.”
William and Kate are midway through a Diamond Jubilee tour of the Far East, which had been going well until now.
The photographs were taken last week while the couple were staying in Provence at a chateau owned by Lord Linley, the Queen’s nephew, ahead of their trip.
Publishers of the UK edition of Closer distanced themselves from the French magazine.
Chief executive Paul Keenan of Bauer Media said his company deplored the publication of the “intrusive and offensive pictures” and had “complained in the strongest terms” to the firm which licensed the title in France.
He said Bauer had asked Closer France to remove the pictures and refrain from publishing any more.
Legal experts said the royal couple would have a strong case.
Thomas Roussineau, who specialises in privacy law, said publication of the photos undoubtedly breaks French privacy laws .
“It is totally forbidden,” he said. “The castle is not the street, it is in a private place, and they are intimate pictures.”
But he said it was likely the magazine had weighed up the potential cost of a fine against the revenue the photos would bring.
Caroline Jan, solicitor at London-based firm Kingsley Napley’s media group and active member of the Franco-British Law Society, said it would be the “biggest Franco-British privacy clash since Princess Diana’s death”.
She added: “The French magazine publishing pictures of the Duchess is clearly testing the water in a country where privacy laws are stricter than in the UK.”
But media lawyer Mark Stephens suggested William and Kate might not have the ability to take effective action over the photographs.
He said: “It is obviously highly intrusive but as they have published the pictures the genie is out of the bottle.”
It is not the first time Kate has turned to the courts where she has felt her privacy has been invaded.
In 2009, when still William’s girlfriend, she was photographed playing tennis on Christmas Eve while on holiday in Cornwall and the image was syndicated by a picture agency to foreign media outlets.
The Duchess later won £5,000 in damages and an apology from Rex Features for invasion of privacy.